Local Housing Allowance is another name for Housing Benefit for tenants who live in privately rented accommodation.
It is a weekly allowance based on the size of your household and the area in which you live and is generally the maximum level of Housing Benefit you will be able to receive for your property. If your actual rent is less than your local housing allowance entitlement then your benefit will be based upon the lower figure. The actual amount of Housing Benefit you will receive will depend on your income and savings etc.
The Local Housing Allowance rates are not set by Hertsmere. They are set by a separate government organisation called the Valuation Office Agency. You can check the Local Housing Allowance rates by visiting the Valuation Office website.
The Local Housing Allowance is used to work out Housing Benefit for all new claims, except for those who fall into the categories below.
Local Housing Allowance does not apply if:
- You rent your home from a housing association or a registered social landlord.
- You rent your home from a charity or a voluntary organisation and they, or someone on their behalf, provide you with care, support or supervision.
- Your tenancy began before January 1989.
- You live in a caravan or a houseboat.
- Meals are included in the rent you are charged.
If you choose to rent a property which is more expensive than your Local Housing Allowance rate, you will have to make up the shortfall in your rent from your other income. Please remember the Local Housing Allowance figures are the maximum level of benefit you can receive, but the amount you are actually entitled to will depend on your income..
The amount of rooms you can claim for depends on your personal circumstances:
- If you are aged 35 or over, single and have no dependents - your benefit will be based on either the shared accommodation rate (if you rent a room), or on the one-bedroom rate (as long as your accommodation has exclusive use of at least two rooms).
- If you are aged under 35, single, have no dependents - your benefit will be based on the shared accommodation rate.
- If you are aged under 35 and severely disabled - your benefit will be based on the one-bedroom rate.
- If you are a couple with no dependents - your benefit will be based on either the shared accommodation rate (if you rent a room), or on the one-bedroom rate (as long as your accommodation has exclusive use of at least two rooms).
For everyone else with children or non-dependants, the Local Housing Allowance rate is based on the number of bedrooms needed for your household. One bedroom (up to a maximum of four) is allowed for each of the following:
- Every adult couple
- Any other adult aged 16 or other
- Any two children of the same sex up to 16 years old
- Any two children regardless of the sex under 10 years old
- Any other child
- An overnight carer if you or your partner are disabled and have an additional bedroom because a carer stays overnight on a regular basis.
If you are still unsure as to the number of bedrooms that you and your family are entitled to, you can use our online Bedroom entitlement calculator to work out the Local Housing Allowance rate you can claim for.
You can check the Local Housing Allowance rates by visiting the Valuation Office website.